Thank you Amnesty International USA for sponsoring this post.
Our kids can be spoiled. I’ll be the first to admit it. Not spoiled brats- spoiled, but want for nothing spoiled. My husband and I grew up with very little, each for different reasons, and I can remember being so happy for the few presents and gifts we did recieve. When you become a parent, it’s a given that you want better for your kids than you had and when you grew up. I remember I was so excited for my daughter’s first Christmas I bought her an obscene amount of presents- and she was a month old! Obviously a more “wiser” parent now, I have scaled back since then.
Now it’s just as an important for me for them to have an amazing Christmas morning as it is to understand the true meaning of the holiday. I believe it’s so important for people to be able to see the importance in giving to others and this time of year is a great time to pass that down to your children. If you feel the same way, here are some simple but meaningful ideas that you can do as a family that help teach these ideas of service and community involvement that are also age appropriate.
Choosing Gifts from an Angel Tree:
This is an easy one that all kids will love. This time of year, there are always plenty of angel trees to choose from. We will choose a gift from the angel tree at our church, my husband’s work and my kid’s elementary school. It’s perfect that we have three places to donate to- I plan on letting each child choose a gift. Hopefully this will help to build that personal connection to helping a kid that’s their age that doesn’t have as much as as they do.
Donating to a local church:
We do this normally, but will continue to this holiday season. I am even going to ask the kids to contribute a few dollars from their piggy banks to add to the bag. Often local churches will have lists of other items they are collecting too, so be sure to see what they are in need of!
Donate to a local animal shelter:
My kids are HUGE animal lovers, especially my oldest. I plan on getting some inexpensive toys and dog treats and bringing them down with the kids to help these animals without a home. I know seeing these kitties and doggies face-to-face will bring it home to them how important it is to help one another out, even if they are our furry friends. Our local animal shelter had a list online of things they were looking for, so be sure to check out yours if you consider doing something like this with your kiddies.
Sending a box of treats to military overseas:
If you have a member of your family serving overseas, this is an easy one! When my brother was serving in Iraq years ago, I know how much he loved receiving candy and snacks. This is a great way to lift the spirits of service men or women that can’t be home for the holidays. Please keep in mind that packages can take awhile to arrive so be aware of that when shipping!
Sending holiday cards to military overseas:
Besides our own personal family members serving, I want my kids to know that there are lots of kids without their mommy’s or daddy’s during the holidays because they are fighting to protect all of us. Sending some handmade cards are a simple way for them to say thank you.
Donate to a local Human Rights Campaign:
In our political climate this can be a touchy subject, but if human rights is an issue important to your family, then consider donating to Amnesty International this holiday season. Families have been forced to flee their homes because their lives are under threat and their human rights are being violated. We all share a responsibility to help people who have lost everything, and to give them a chance to rebuild their lives safely the same way all of us would need to if we were in this horrible situation. Parents are facing an impossible choice: stay and risk violence or flee to the U.S. and risk ending up behind bars with their children. Locally here in Pennsylvania the Berks County Family Detention Center is currently holding at least 60 parents and kids. Many of them are from Central America, where Amnesty International has documented horrific violence. If deported, many of these families will be facing incredibly dangerous situations, perhaps even death, upon their return. Whether you have five minutes, a few hours, or a bit longer, you can speak up, show up, chip in, and stand up for human rights today. You can learn more about this campaign and how you can help over at Amnesty International, USA, and by watching this video:
What causes are close to your heart this season? How do you get your kids involved in them?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.